Read Hocus Pocus Hotel Online

Authors: Michael Dahl

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction/Mysteries & Detective Stories

Hocus Pocus Hotel

BOOK: Hocus Pocus Hotel
5.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

The Not-So-Secret Meeting


Now You See Him, Now You Don't

Magic and Mirrors

The Missing Magician

The Open Window

The Master of Levitation

These Crazy Magicians

Clues and Cents

Magic in the Walls


More Secrets

Zombie Eyes

Haunted Bathtubs

Mr. Ken

The Missing

Finding the Key

The Echo

Behind the Boilers

Mr. Thursday

The Final Mysteries

The Penthouse

Charlie Hitchcock needed a big, angry dog.

He needed a bodyguard.

He needed guts.

But, unluckily, Charlie didn't have any of those things.

Which is why he walked out of school at the end of the day to face his fate alone. Well, he was by himself, but he wasn't alone. Kids were lined up on both sides of the sidewalk, staring at him as he walked past.

“Good luck, Charlie.”

“It'll be over soon.”

“Remember, Hitch, tuck and roll.”

“You're doomed, loser.”

Both sides of the sidewalk were thick with kids who wanted to watch him leave school that afternoon. There were friends and well-wishers. There were kids who'd never heard of Charlie until that day, the kind of kids who went to car races hoping to see a crash. And there were enemies.

Slowly, Charlie trudged past them all. A few of them shook his hand.

One girl cried.

Another kid asked Charlie for his autograph. “Maybe it'll be worth something,” the boy explained. “After, you know, you're destroyed.”

After more shouts of support, nervous whispers, laughs, and jeers, Charlie reached the end of the sidewalk. He sighed. Before he walked across the street, where he would be officially off school property, he turned around. The crowd had split apart, as his audience left the school grounds, moving away from him as quickly as they could.

Charlie shivered in the cold October breeze. He dug deep into his pocket and pulled out the piece of wrinkled notepaper he had been handed earlier in the day, between English and American History.

The paper had been shoved into his hand by the biggest seventh-grader at Blackstone Middle School, Tyler Yu.

Ty had never spoken to him in the six years they had known each other. In fact, Ty never spoke to anyone. Charlie sometimes wondered if the biggest bully in school was able to speak at all.

Charlie had heard him yell, though, and grunt and shout. Because the one thing Tyler Yu did and did well, the one thing he was famous for, was fighting. His muscles and his temper were always getting him into trouble. After-school battles between Ty and other students were legendary. And they always started with a note.

For the thirty-seventh time that day, Charlie read the note.

So why had Ty picked on Charlie this time? And why had he given him an address for somewhere in the middle of the city? Ty's fights usually took place in the woods behind the school.

Thirty minutes of walking the busy sidewalks of Blackstone brought Charlie to the alley behind Gideon Street. A blue neon sign shined near the entrance. The sign was in the shape of a top hat with a blue neon rabbit peeking out of it.

He should have gone home and hidden under his bed. That's what his best friend Andrew told him to do when Charlie showed him the note during American History. It was also what Andrew told everyone else when he spread the news throughout the school.

“I told him to go home and hide under his bed,” Andrew kept saying. “But he won't do it.”

Charlie couldn't help it. He may not have felt brave, but he wanted to see this thing through to the end.

Charlie looked up at the sign again.

The one thing that always drove Charlie nuts was not knowing the answer to a puzzle or riddle or secret. Charlie was curious, and Ty's note was a puzzle.

He had to know what it meant.

“Hey!” an unfamiliar voice muttered.

Charlie made out a tall shadow in the middle of the alley.

It was Ty, standing next to a big metal garbage bin.

So that's why he told me to come here
, Charlie thought.
So he could throw me in with the rest of the trash.

Ty was wearing jeans, a T-shirt, his chain-wallet, and a pair of scuffed work boots. That was what he always wore. Along with a hard, sour expression.

He looks angry
, thought Charlie. And he did. Even his spiky black hair looked angry.

Suddenly, Ty tossed open the lid of the garbage bin. The heavy lid swung back and struck the side of the brick building with a loud bang.

“Hurry up, Hitch!” ordered Ty.

Charlie walked closer.
At least the garbage is in plastic bags
, he thought.
Maybe it won't smell so bad.

“I said, hurry up!” Ty said. He lifted three giant bags of garbage from the ground with one hand, as if they weighed no more than kittens. Without taking his eyes off Charlie, he slung the garbage bags into the bin and slammed the lid shut.

Then Ty walked over to a door in the side of the brick building. He yanked it open and barked, “Inside.”

Charlie did what he was told. The metal door slammed shut behind him.

He was alone in a dark room with Tyler Yu. This was it. The end.

In the dim light that leaked under another door, Charlie saw Tyler raise his fist.

Charlie wanted to close his eyes, but he didn't. He kept them open and braced himself for the punch. “What do you want?” he whispered.

Then he saw a finger poke out of Ty's fist.

“You,” said Ty. “I need your help.”

BOOK: Hocus Pocus Hotel
5.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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